4 years, 40 city coffee tours, and too many cups of coffee to count, Caffeine Crawl headed back to its heart in Kansas City
BY SADIE COLWELL
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE
Caffeine Crawl and Kansas City Coffee & Tea Week kicked off with a Friday night route starting in Midwest Coffee Trading‘s newly open PlexPod Brew Gallery. Alpha Dominche brews of Java Brothers Guatemala and Ethiopia, a Torn Label Brewing + Thou Mayest coffee beer collaboration, and Yummylicious cookies kept our taste buds happy while we learned about green coffee quality and the vision of the new space.
Kate Blackman took our taste buds on a creative exploration of flavor and texture with cherry air atop chocolate cream, finished with coffee infused cherries at Parisi Coffee, and we savored creamy coffee custard with a scrumptious Elbow Chocolate on top at Foo’s Fabulous Frozen Custard. Black Dog Coffeehouse gave us a taste of all three sides of the business ”Ibis Bakery, Messenger Coffee, and the cafe where it’s all deliciously combined ”before we headed to Maps Coffee for the scoop on their collaboration with Boulevard Brewing and a roasting demo we watched as we sipped coffee cocktails made with local spirits.
Routes kicked off around the city on Saturday morning with spirits high, plenty of coffee, and perfect weather to drink it in. Kaldi’s Coffee divided and conquered, splitting groups into two sessions: one deconstructed the company’s ‘Tis the Season espresso blend with single origin samplings, and the other explored acidity and bitterness in coffee with ginger beer and lime mocktails. Phil and Ozzie entertained and educated as we sipped various varietal brews at PT’s Coffee Roasting Co. while discussing direct trade.
Headrush Coffee Roasters took us through a well-explained roasting demo, a matcha tea ceremony, and a compelling history of Japanese tea, and we snagged Askinosie Chocolate bar samples from our swag bags as a sweet finish to the freshly roasted Ethiopian brews.
How to steep green tea properly was the focus at Hugo Tea, and we admired their warehouse and retail space while sampling a special black tea from 100-year-old wild tea plants not grown on plantations. About The Coffee gave us a great tour of the coffee-lab-meets-classroom creative community space, and Sowden SoftBrew samples awaited us afterwards. Broadway Cafe & Roasting Company took us to school with a variety of coffee experiences, ranging from a table of green coffee on display, several single origin brews paired with treats, and a Le Nez Du Cafe set-up to practice aroma mastery. Heirloom Bakery & Hearth combined food and coffee in a nearly complete meal: orange-infused Toddy on ice with a pork slider, an affogato, and blueberry shortbread.
Homer’s Coffee House served steaming cups of pumpkin chai and Kenya pourovers alongside chocolate cookies, which we munched along to the live music and good vibes. Quay Coffee demoed Toddy and Japanese-style ice brew, which we sampled side by side for flavor nuance exploration. McClain’s Bakery and Cafe offered a gorgeous array of pastries ”cheese danish, butter rolls, doughnut holes, fresh baked breads, and local jellies, just to name a few ”and we washed them down with Thou Mayest whiskey barrel aged coffee. We got an in depth lesson on coffee processing and varietals at Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters, and Parkville Coffee welcomed us to the loft for brewed Burundi, pourovers, pastries, and a lesson in cold brewing at home. Post Coffee Co. brought the VW bus to River Market for a delicious pop-up: Kyoto and cascara tea made from the husks of the same beans were a refreshing accompaniment to the brisk fall weather.
RevoCup blew us away with a entire traditional Ethiopian meal and freshly roasted Ethiopian coffee, and ‹Ruby Jean’s Juicery served up coffee smoothies and highlighted their brief history as a three-month-old specialty juicery in Kansas City. t. loft welcomed us to their sleek new Plaza store for steeps and sips ”Masala Chai, Moroccan Mint, and White Coconut Cream ‹teas were on the menu.
Kansas City Coffee and Tea Week kept the buzz going for the entire week following Caffeine Crawl, with special offers from over 15 local cafes and roasteries. We’re KC proud and glad to call it home. Local support from our awesome sponsors (shout outs to Yelp KC, InterAmerican Coffee, Print Time, MoBank, Regal Distributing, Black Mesa Brewing, Barista Magazine, and Pacific Foods, just to name a few) made the magic possible! We’re already jazzed for the next one. Thanks for 4 years of greatness, KC!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brimming with ambition, sarcasm and caffeinated zeal, Sadie Colwell is fascinated by all things beverage and the extraordinary humans behind them. Recently relocated from KCMO to Fort Collins, Colorado, you can find her behind the bar of Harbinger Coffee or hunkered down with a cappuccino, fervently planning the next Caffeine Crawl or blogging for The LAB. When she isn’t traveling to caffeinated cities, she drinks a lot of local beer and lets her dog take her for long, vivacious walks through City Park.